This pasta soup with potatoes and pancetta is a traditional Italian soup made with potatoes, carrots, and leeks, tender pasta and diced pancetta. Hearty cold-weather comfort food.
Can I swap bacon for pancetta?
We’ve a wee caveat to share with anyone tempted to substitute bacon for pancetta in this pantry-minded recipe. While that swap works in some recipes, we don’t encourage trying it here. Pancetta’s sturdy texture and meatiness handily withstand being simmered in this soupy stew without becoming limpid and soggy. Sadly, the same can’t be said about bacon, which turns flabby. Save it for frying up in a pan.
Pasta Soup with Potatoes, Pancetta and Leeks
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 45 M
- Serves 6
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Toss in the leek and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
Add the carrot and potato and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the stock, lower the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, stirring every 2 minutes, until the pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Immediately ladle the soup into bowls. Originally published January 15, 2013.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I was actually surprised at just how much we liked this soup. It was extremely quick and easy to put together. Using top-quality ingredients, in a recipe where the ingredient list is not long, really made this dish taste fresh, clean, and pure.
I had questioned how the pancetta would cook by just sautéing it for 3 minutes with the leeks and then another 2 minutes with the potatoes. I use pancetta quite often, and usually cook the pancetta till it is brown or caramelized. I was concerned that I would not like the result, but wanted to try the recipe as written. This is another case of needing to have an open mind. The pancetta in the finished product was more like some very, very good ham which imparted great flavor to the broth.
I used a really good organic chicken broth that comes in a quart carton container that I keep around for when we do not have homemade stock.
Throwing the Parm in off the heat at the end really added to the wonderful taste and texture. The chopped canned tomatoes seemed like an afterthought. I don't know if it was mostly to add a touch of color, because that small amount of tomatoes in 2 quarts of stock, along with the vegetables, doesn't really make a difference in taste. However, the end result was so good, that I may just throw in just the 3 tablespoons when I make this again, and I will make it again.
The only change I made to the recipe, was throwing a piece of Parmesan rind in when I added the broth to the pot. We have a bag of Parmesan rinds in the freezer, and this seemed like a good time to use one. It was!
Excellent! This is a very simple recipe that is easy to follow with exceptional results.
I would caution the cook to go easy on the "salt to taste". Leave it a little bit lacking until after you add the parmesan cheese or you risk making it too salty.
I think that you could use Yukon gold or another less starchy potato for some texture without losing any taste. (Just a thought.)